By Annette Mackin
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PCS – coordinated strikes hit harder

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Issue 2354
PCS union member on strike last week

PCS union member on strike last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)

The PCS union conference began this week in Brighton—where a bin workers’ strike and occupation left rubbish uncollected for two days earlier this month.

The conference came after the FBU firefighters’ union voted for a national ballot for strikes over pensions.

PCS members can build on this mood of resistance. 

The union has already been leading a national campaign of strikes and industrial action against cuts to pay, pensions, jobs and working conditions. 

So far they have been well supported.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs group (Efra) kickstarted their six weeks of rolling action with a one day strike last week. 

There was a strong picket line at the department headquarters and most PCS members stayed away from work.

Management were also forced to close rooms and hold book transfers at the British Library in West Yorkshire, due to a one day strike by PCS members there. 

But the strikes and industrial action have been too scattered regionally for there to be an impact nationally.

Delegates at conference need to vote to intensify for action. 

They should gain confidence from the action being taken by the NUT and FBU to step up their campaign and join other unions in days of mass strikes. 

PCS workers are also crucial in the fight against benefit sanctions. They must push general secretary Mark Serwotka to follow through on his initial call for strikes on 26 June.

This will link up with Benefit Justice Campaign’s day of action when George Osborne announces his spending review.

The union executive also says that benefit sanctions are going to be debated, despite some confusion over whether doing so would break anti-trade union laws.

This is the opportunity to win the argument that mass strikes are essential to defeat the weakened Tories and stop the attacks on welfare.

For updates from conference, check the Socialist Worker website


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